Which Fats are Healthy?
Lesezeit: 4 min
Lesezeit: 4 min
There are fats that are healthy and desirable in a healthy diet. On the other hand, there are fats that can, for example, promote atherosclerosis and inflammation. Since there is a lot of confusion about this topic, let's finally clarify: Which fats are healthy?
Most nutrition labels provide information about how much unsaturated and saturated fatty acids are present. In the future, you should pay attention to as much unsaturated fatty acids as possible compared to saturated fatty acids. Primarily, you promote your heart health this way. Unsaturated fats can help lower cholesterol levels and therefore reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. This can result in more HDL cholesterol compared to LDL cholesterol.
Furthermore, unsaturated fatty acids could also have a positive impact on insulin sensitivity. This could help mitigate blood sugar fluctuations, potentially leading to fewer instances of hunger attacks.
The terms omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are often confusing. Omega-6 fatty acids themselves are not unhealthy. The issue is that we consume comparatively more omega-6 fatty acids in relation to omega-3 fatty acids. However, both are essential fatty acids that our body cannot produce on its own and therefore must obtain through diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids are divided into three main types: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ALA is mainly obtained from plant sources like seeds and nuts, while EPA and DHA predominantly come from animal sources.
Omega-3 fatty acids can have anti-inflammatory effects, thus minimizing inflammation throughout the body. Furthermore, they are of great importance for the health of the heart, brain, and eyes . DHA, in particular, is needed for the baby's brain and eyes during pregnancy. Lastly, omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in cell membranes.
Omega-6 fatty acids are typically present as linoleic acid. Important sources include sunflower oil, corn oil, and soybean oil. Omega-6 fatty acids possess pro-inflammatory properties, which is why omega-3 oils are necessary to balance them. Recommended ratios of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids are from 1:1 to 1:4. In the diets of most people, the ratio is rarely below 1:10.
Trans fats are certain fats that are produced during industrial processing when liquid vegetable oils are transformed into solid fats. These can negatively affect health since they are pro-inflammatory and raise LDL cholesterol levels while reducing "good" HDL cholesterol. Typical sources of trans fats include:
In conclusion, you should make an effort to avoid trans fats as much as possible. Animal-based trans fats are rare but are considered healthier than industrial trans fats. So, don't worry if you read about trans fats in beef and fat.
Furthermore, you should focus on consuming more omega-3 fatty acids to maintain a healthy balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Lastly, you should opt for unsaturated fats and minimize the intake of saturated fats.
Fat serves numerous functions in the body:
There isn't one healthy oil that's the healthiest. However, the following options are often discussed: